At the core of any small business’ PR efforts is a pitch with an angle that hopefully lures a reporter. But many entrepreneurs have tunnel vision, only focusing on their product as opposed to their entire business – themselves included – when pitching. In this final article on small business PR, we’re touching on how to uncover blogs, competitors’ own successes, and the many angles to center your business around when pitching.
Journey The Blogosphere
Product recommendations are a powerful persuader that gets customers purchasing. Whether it’s that one dude on the Today show cycling through products, that rabid blogger doing reviews, or Mom, the power of word-of-mouth isn’t to be downplayed. Nielsen surveys show that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product once they learn about it through family and friends, with professional experts (like reviewers) coming in at 66%.
And where there’s a blog, there’s an audience to get the word out. Blogs are especially useful because they tend to be small and focused on a particular topic or market, as opposed to a giant media outlet. It’s one thing to get a ton of exposure to a not-so relevant audience, and another to get small exposure that’s highly relevant to the audience, which is why blogs are always a good option.
In terms of finding them, it’s no different than collecting contact information when you’re pitching, like we covered last week. Go to the search engines and begin you adventure by popping in some keywords related to your brand and product. Below are some combinations to use, with XYZ being whatever product or market you’re selling:
- Best XYZ bloggers
- XYZ blogs
- Top XYZ blogs
- XYZ product blogs
- XYZ product reviews
It’s pretty simple stuff. Travel down the rabbit hole and let the links take you around. Once you start seeing outlets that catch your attention, there’s a little trick you can do in Google that allows you to find similar sites to broaden your list. Simply put “related:” in front of the URL you’ve found, search it, and Google will dig up related outlets for you.
Once you find someone you think is solid, get their contact info. Check out last week’s public relations post for best ways to uncover that stuff.
The Backlink Of My Enemy Is My Friend
While you’re finding outlets, whether they’re blogs, news sites, or reviews, sometimes checking out your competition reveals opportunities. If a site covered your competitor, they’re likely open to doing the same for you if you have a good enough pitch.
Take a look at where that competitor is getting their coverage by checking out their backlinks. When you lock down some coverage, the article or post always includes a link to your site, and that’s called a backlink. It’s why businesses are anxious to guest post, cross-post, or just be listed on another domain in general. It not only works magic on your SEO, but it obviously acts as an entryway to funnel traffic from the piece to your site. Seeing exactly where your competitors are getting their own backlinks will give you an idea of what outlets you may want to tap.
SEMrush is a great tool to get this information and analyze your competition. Amongst many other things – like keyword research and organic search – it gives a snapshot of what backlinks and referring domains are linking to any site. Simply enter the domain and scroll down to check it all out. Take a look at the picture below with Google for an example:
Perfecting The Pitch
Once more for good measure, media outlets have pitches piled on them daily, if not hourly. Be wary of spamming the same contacts over and over in an attempt to get some coverage. It’s no different than a business throwing out marketing emails constantly. Instead of unsubscribing, a reporter will simply ignore anything and everything you have to say, and that’s a closed door that won’t open until their position with the outlet is.
But now for the pitch angles. Any aspect of your business and yourself can be used as a potential spin that gets you coverage. Pitch angles are everywhere, so take a look below for potential ways to throw yourself into the public’s attention:
Location, Location, Location
Narrow your scope and think locally, especially if you’re a seriously small business. Communities tend to adore their local small businesses, and it only helps a city to foster its commerce, even if it has an “e” in front of it. Reach out to city publications if you’ve had an interesting development in the business, or contact your city’s news station to see if they’re planning to feature some products, whether it’s a seasonal thing, a tech showcase, etc. PR isn’t restricted to big name sites and blogs – it’s anywhere there’s an audience.
Also, check out local events and potential sponsorships for opportunities to build a brand and audience in your own region. Businesses don’t suddenly catapult to national brands; they’re built up over time. Having that base of customers that enjoys your products is a step that every large brand has gone through. Take a look at your chamber of commerce’s event calendar, search around for organizations that may be related to your product line. There are likely many opportunities around you to plug your business publicly.
Every person is their own brand. It’s what LinkedIns are for, right? No doubt, you’ve seen publications like Entrepreneur, Inc., even the nightly news cover entrepreneurs with all their experiences and talents. Everybody likes a good story, so develop your own personal brand and background to make yourself more marketable as a pitch (even if you have to spruce it up a bit). It’s also possible to use other aspects like your family, gender, or struggles as an angle to promote your business. While the benefit of press coverage effects your business, it’s about you as well.
All News Is Good To Use
If you aren’t following the news, you should! When something is trending that’s related to you or your product, then you’ve got an awesome angle to run a pitch on. Whether it’s women in business, the top tier products for the Fall, or a celebrity sporting a product similar to your catalog, the potential for a pitch is there. The very same way businesses capitalize off of emerging trends, it’s possible to jump on them for some coverage. Plus, the press is doing the very same thing to rack in views, so craft a pitch related to a hot topic for a higher degree of success.